Individuals who have an interest in studying the immune systems of humans and other organisms may want to consider obtaining a master's degree in immunology. This advanced degree allows students with a background in biology or biomedical science to further specialize their knowledge and apply to research-related jobs in the field or help transition their career in a new direction. We will look at five different career possibilities that a master's in immunology could help you pursue.
Career Possibilities with a Master's in Immunology
|Job Title||Median Salary (2016)*||Job Growth (2014-2024)*|
|Biological Science Postsecondary Teacher||$76,650||16%|
|Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists||$61,070||14%|
|Natural Sciences Manager||$119,850||3%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Immunology Master's Degree Career Descriptions
An epidemiologist works in the field of public health, researching various types of infectious diseases and other health concerns that affect humans. While many epidemiologists have a master's in public health, earning a master's degree in immunology could also qualify you for an epidemiologist position. Because immunology focuses on studying immune systems, the fields are closely linked, and immunologists could apply their skills and training to studying how diseases affect human immunology. In fact, some immunology master's degree programs are offered through a school's public health department. For individuals who are primarily interested in leading on research projects, they will likely need to complete a Ph.D. as well.
Biology Science Postsecondary Teacher
With a master's degree in immunology, you could consider transitioning into the field of teaching at the postsecondary level. You may teach courses at 2-year colleges in subjects like immunology, general biology, and other related biological sciences. In addition to instructing courses and keeping grades for students, you may also act as an advisor to students who are considering pursuing immunology or a related field as a career. To teach at the postsecondary level, having a master's degree is generally the minimum requirement. A doctorate is typically required for university teaching positions.
While a master's degree in immunology alone will not qualify you to be a veterinarian, it could act as an important transitional step in the process of becoming a vet. If you are more interested in studying immunology in non-human mammals and other creatures, pursuing a master's degree in immunology may be a good idea before applying to veterinary college. Having this advanced degree could help you in the admissions process, as students who have experience and advanced knowledge in areas of health sciences are often seen as more desirable. After completing a D.V.M program, you will be required to get a license in order to practice, and you could seek an optional certification in a veterinary specialty related to immunology.
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologist
As a medical or clinical laboratory technologist, some of your main responsibilities will include using laboratory equipment to run various tests on samples of bodily fluid and keeping meticulous patient and testing records. You could work specifically as an immunology technologist, a position that focuses on researching and testing how foreign bodies affect the human immune system. While only a bachelor's degree is necessary to find entry-level work in the field, opportunities to specialize are available to those who have completed additional work experience or education, so a master's in immunology could qualify you for one of these advanced positions.
Natural Sciences Manager
If you have an interest in biological sciences but also would like to hone your managerial skills, you may consider using a master's degree in immunology to transition to a career as a natural sciences manager. These professionals use their background in science to oversee a project's research activities, which could entail supervising other scientists and developing goals and laboratory policies. Natural sciences managers may also be actively conducting their own research. Having a degree in a managerial-related field is not necessary, so a master's degree in immunology combined with work experience in a lab setting could qualify you to become a natural sciences manager.
With a master's degree in immunology, you can choose to continue pursuing a career in immunology research or transition into a different field in which the master's degree could be helpful, like veterinary science or natural science management.